POLICE Magazine

JAN 2019

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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POLICEMAG.COM 43 aircraft on the internet. Flight tracking websites such as FlightAware and FlightRadar24 offer incentives to subscribers who are will- ing to place an ADS-B receiver system in their house and feed the data it collects to their website. Other websites such as ADSBExchange provide instructions for how to build an ADS-B receiver system using easily sourced components for around $100. TRACKING POLICE AIRCRAFT u What does this mean for law enforce- ment agencies? Although internet flight data vendors can currently track all military and law enforcement aircraft that use Mode S transponders, the use of Mode S-ES ADS-B technology presents additional risks. In January 2018, the United States Government Accountability Office re- leased a report outlining the specific risks related to aircraft tracking us- ing ADS-B Out technology. e report warns: "Individuals—including adver- saries—could track military aircraft equipped with ADS-B Out technology, posing risks to physical security and operations." Of course, this concern of compro- mising physical and mission secu- rity also applies to law enforcement operations. A series of articles by BuzzFeed during a one-year period from 2016 to 2017 revealed how law enforcement aircraft can be tracked over the United States. e article "Spies in the Skies" highlights the FBI and Department of Homeland Security utilization of Mode S equipped airborne surveillance plat- forms following high-profile incidents such as the 2016 terror attack in San Bernardino, CA, and the protests in Ferguson, MO. Taking the issue a step further, BuzzFeed provided links to various documents that listed the reg- istration information of aircraft the on- line news service believed to be linked to government agencies. e Columbia Journalism Review conducted independent research into the tracking of government aircraft by creating a computer algorithm that mirrored the efforts of BuzzFeed. In both of these cases, the computer al- gorithms were developed using data gleaned from the publicly available information found on websites such as FlightRadar24, FlightAware, and ADS- BExchange. For the aviation hobbyist, these sys- tems are designed to be operated in the background of the individual's home or office. Additional software packag- es translate the information received by the antenna into mapping software that displays live data for the user while simultaneously feeding the device's as- sociated website. However, the ability exists for the device to be turned into a portable ADS-B monitoring system. e advertised range of devices such as FlightAware's PiAware is between 50 and 200 miles, depending on nor- mal reception factors such as antenna placement and structural obscurations. By connecting the device to an inex- pensive power inverter found at any large retail store, the user can operate the ADS-B monitoring system in a land- based vehicle or boat and have an in- stant mobile monitoring platform. THE SOLUTION u e FAA and other applicable feder- al agencies are evaluating mitigation techniques. However, a limited number of viable options are already available. Legal rulemaking changes are being evaluated by the federal government regarding the mandatory broadcast of an aircraft's ADS-B Out transmission while the aircraft is in flight. Potential changes include regulatory relief to government agencies conducting na- tional security and law enforcement-re- lated missions. Law enforcement agencies that utilize an aviation support unit can receive a briefing on options available to them by contacting the Federal Aviation Admin- istration System Operations Security at 9-ATOR-HQ-IFOS@faa.gov (please put LEA ADS-B Support in the subject line). Agencies can also get in touch with their regional FAA Law Enforcement Assis- tance Program (LEAP) Special Agent by emailing LEAP@faa.gov. Michael Hamann is a certified air traffic control specialist with the Federal Avia- tion Administration. He holds a master of arts degree in emergency management and homeland security from Arizona State University and a Bachelor of Sci- ence Degree in aeronautical studies from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. His views do not necessarily represent those of the FAA. simplifying t h e d u t y h o l s t e r made in the u.s.a. X - C A L I B U R TM The X-Calibur works with your body's natural mechanics, incorporating the Science of Human Factors to produce a secure, fast, and intuitive duty holster. p o i n t b l a n k e n t e r p r i s e s . c o m

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